The appearance of this new recording of Bach's St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244, will be welcome news to listeners suffering from withdrawal after the conclusion of conductor Masaaki Suzuki's magisterial cycle of the Bach cantatas. Such listeners can rest assured that the basic Suzuki sound -- burnished winds, flawlessly integrated choral singing, careful handling of the soloists -- is intact here, and that may be all that is necessary. However, the even better news is that Suzuki, returning to the St. Matthew Passion after his recording from the year 2000, seems to have given some thought to how to make this intensely dramatic piece work best in his style. He does not abandon his basic sound, and those who want a more operatic St. Matthew Passion can certainly find one, but, as compared with the earlier reading, Suzuki's interpretation is sharpened here. His tempos are picked up a bit, and the choruses are varied and punchy. The soloists are given a bit more space, and they're uniformly terrific this time, with soprano Carolyn Sampson a distinct improvement over Nancy Argenta on the earlier version. The BIS engineers, working in the Saitama Arts Center Concert Hall, move in close and give the music added immediacy, and an organ specially built for Suzuki (played by Haru Kitamika) plays a more forward role in the proceedings and has a warm sound that fits beautifully into its surroundings. In short, there are plenty of reasons to listen to this new recording beyond simple Suzuki withdrawal.